Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by MGP. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
One of the neat (see what I did there?) things about enjoying whiskey is that there’s often a history lesson that accompanies what’s in the glass.
For example, until I started researching Remus Repeal Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey, I hadn’t realized Prohibition lasted as long as it did—from 1920-1933. (And yet this should not surprise me given…today’s politics. But I’ll leave that for another article.) So in learning about Midwest Grain Products’ (MGP) house brand, George Remus Bourbon, I also learned a little about America’s leanings a hundred years ago. (As for learnings over the past century, let’s not go there.)
During Prohibition, George Remus ran one of the most successful and thriving bootlegging operations. According to George Remus’ website, the Cincinnati, Ohio-based Remus found loopholes in the Volstead Act, which carried out the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, establishing prohibition in the United States. His bootlegging made him a multi-millionaire and even inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby character in The Great Gatsby. Not a terrible fellow to name a bourbon after.
Now let’s talk MGP. You may know MGP without knowing you know MGP. As we mentioned back in 2017 when we first reviewed the George Remus Bourbon, MGP’s rye whiskey is or has been sold under dozens of labels that source it, including Angel’s Envy, Bulleit Rye, George Dickel Rye, High West, James E. Pepper, Redemption, and Templeton Rye.
Perhaps MPG got tired of being the whiskey version of “the man behind the curtain?” They took over the George Remus brand in 2016 to make it their own. Given MGP’s expertise in the grain world, one would think that their house brand is a strong contender—and we did, three years ago. Their Remus Repeal Reserve commemorates the milestone of prohibition repeal Dec. 5, 1933 by the passage of the 21st amendment to the US Constitution. It’s a mix of two “well-aged 12-year-old bourbons”: The 2020 medley I got to sample (aka Series IV) is composed of a bourbon with 21% rye and a bourbon with 36% rye.
A recent press release from MGP explains that Series IV is a limited annual release, timed to roll out in September to coincide with National Bourbon Month, but also they will continue to roll it out until Prohibition Repeal Day, Dec. 5.
Tasting Notes: Remus Repeal Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Vital stats: 100 proof; a blend of a 77% 2008 Bourbon (21% rye) and a 23% 2008 Bourbon (36% rye); about $85.
Appearance: For what it’s worth, this lovely art deco-inspired bottle also uncorks satisfyingly. No wriggling required. No knife needed to cut off gobs of wax. It smoothly glides in and out with a subtle sigh. Oh, the color? Its hue evokes fruit: The inside of a peach, close to the pit. A pleasing shine.
Nose: Duh. MGP obviously knows what it’s doing. It’s as if this whiskey was created to address a punch list of top bourbon smells. Butterscotch. Vanilla. Whipped cream. Candied orange peel. Warm, fresh caramel.
Palate: This hits you like a dramatic movie kiss. It starts soft but ends powerful and passionate. It’s silky like cake batter swiped from the bowl with a finger and then licked clean. Smooth as hell, even at 100 proof. There’s no burn or harshness. If you were to order up “palate pleaser,” this would be it. I’m all for supporting anyone who wants to try their hand at whiskey-making, but damn sometimes if it’s not just better to lie back and just let the pros handle it.
This is not a disappointment. You will enjoy it. I did. I won’t bring it out for just anyone. At $85 a bottle, this is not a terrible deal at all. If there’s a Kelley Blue Book for bourbon, this would hold its value.
User Review2.86 (107 votes)
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